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The Philadelphia Experiment with the Sixth Doctor and Peri
Wow!!! Queen Galleia/Dr. Solow co-wrote this ‘Doctor Who’ story!
‘The Macros’ is the eighth and final story of the Lost Season 23/Season 22B of ‘Doctor Who’ by Big Finish. Originally, Big Finish were going to do ‘The Children of January’ by Michael Feeney Callan, which would have been the final TV story for the originally planned Season 23. Sadly it wasn’t to be.
In fact, it’s a shame that both ‘Yellow Fever and How To Cure It’ by Robert Holmes and ‘The Children of January’ by Michael Feeney Callan didn’t get to be made as audio stories for the Lost Season 23 of ‘Doctor Who’ by Big Finish. They would’ve been interesting and fun tales to listen to on an audio CD.
Thankfully though, producer David Richardson found a substitute ‘Doctor Who’ story that had been written for the Sixth Doctor and Peri but never saw the light of day. That story was of course ‘The Macros’ (pronounced ‘Mac-rows’) by Ingrid Pitt and Tony Rudlin. And it’s really a thrilling adventure!
Ingrid Pitt is well-known to ‘Doctor Who’ fans for playing Queen Galleia in ‘The Time Monster’ and Dr. Solow in ‘Warriors of the Deep’. I’ve even seen Ingrid Pitt at the ‘Fifth Element’ event in February 2010 (my first ‘Doctor Who’ convention). I never got to meet her. She sadly died in November 2010.
I find it amazing that Ingrid Pitt was also a writer as well as an actress in ‘Doctor Who’. She wrote this story with her husband Tony Rudlin and it was originally called ‘The Macro Men’ for TV. I’m so pleased this story was revived as an audio drama by Big Finish as I’m impressed with the final result.
The story had me engaged from beginning to end and it’s unlike any other Lost Story featured in ‘The Lost Stories’ range of ‘Doctor Who’ by Big Finish. For one thing, Ingrid Pitt and Tony Rudlin have updated it to suit a modern audience, especially when it concerns character development and story.
The story involves the mystery of the Philadelphia Experiment. The TARDIS lands on the USS Eldridge where the Doctor and Peri step out to explore. They find the ship trapped in a temporal dimension. Members of the crew are caught in a loop. Many are dead as a result of an experiment gone wrong.
The Doctor and Peri’s investigations soon lead them to the distant planet of Capron where an evil dictator lives. The Doctor and Peri try to find a solution in order to save the Eldridge ship and its crew as well as the planet Capron depleting of power. Will the vile Osloo stop our heroes in the tale?
I must admit I knew nothing of the Philadelphia Experiment as I listened to this story. It sounded pretty intriguing and Ingrid Pitt and Tony Rudlin were clearly mystified by this historical event. They wanted to find out what went wrong with this experiment and their ‘Doctor Who’ take on it is good.
Like I said, I enjoyed the character development and story featured in this adventure. There are some pretty tense moments featured throughout and I hung onto the Doctor and Peri’s story as they were uncovering what went on with the Philadelphia Experiment and how this connected to Capron.
There are some complexities to the story that require it another listen, but it wasn’t distracting to prevent me from enjoying the tale. The fact the Doctor and Peri were trying to save a lost ghost ship and its crew and an evil woman had her selfish ambitions getting in the way got me so hooked for it.
Usually with most of the stories in ‘Doctor Who’ by Big Finish for this Lost Season 23, they have been a challenge to listen to because of their visual complexities that were originally meant for television. Thankfully it wasn’t the case for ‘The Macros’ and it was 2 x 50 minute adventure as well.
Colin Baker is a joy to listen to as the Doctor in this adventure. I like the stage he’s reached in the Sixth Doctor’s timeline, considering these stories are set between ‘Revelation of the Daleks’ and ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’. Old Sixy is on his way to becoming the Big Finish version that we know and love.
I like how he investigates the mystery going on with the USS Eldridge ship and connecting with the surviving crew members Professor Tessler and Bosun. It was also fun how he tries to get an audience with Osloo, the ruler of Capron before he gets thrown in a cell and he meets her stepson Ezz instead.
I especially enjoyed the confrontation the Doctor has with Osloo when she uses her superiority to make him give her a ride in the TARDIS and he defies her. It was engaging when Peri was seemingly about to die in the cliffhanger of ‘Part One’ and the Doctor rescues her, taking her to the Zero Room.
Which makes me question, is it the third Zero Room the Doctor has in his TARDIS by this point? The first one was in ‘The Invasion of E-Space’; he lost it in ‘Castrovalva’; got a new one in ‘Renaissance of the Daleks’; seemingly lost it again in ‘Mawdryn Undead’ and now has a brand new one in this story.
Nicola Bryant is amazing and lovely to listen to as Peri in this adventure. The Doctor was supposed to take Peri back home to Baltimore. This is before he actually takes her back home to Baltimore in ‘The Reaping’. I did enjoy how Peri ridicules the Doctor for messing up his attempt to take her back home.
I like how Peri gets curious as the Doctor is when they’re investigating the USS Eldridge. She’s quite out of her depth at first as the ghostly crew, locked in a time loop, don’t listen to her, reminiscent of ‘The Space Museum’. She screams when she meets Tessler and Bosum, but thankfully she is alright.
It was scary to think of Peri crumbling away when the conditions for her to go outside on the USS Eldridge after their visit to Capron hadn’t been put on her. I enjoyed that nice scene between Peri and Yka when they talk about the Doctor and how Peri enjoys travelling with him, despite all of the dangers.
Linda Marlowe guest stars as the villainous Osloo, the Presidenta of the planet Capron. The highlights of Linda Marlowe’s career include ‘The Saint’, ‘The Bill’, ‘Holby City’, ‘Coronation Street’ and ‘Eastenders’. She has also guest starred in two episodes of ‘Forty-Five’ starring Sylvester McCoy.
Osloo is clearly selfish in her own ambitions. She’s clearly unsympathetic and has no redeeming features about her. She seeks only to keep her seat of Presidenta on the planet Capron and wipes out all who oppose her. She even sentences her stepson Ezz who opposes the way she rules Capron.
The vile dictator sends Peri away after uncovering her fake identity as a singer and hearing her plea to stop the power drainage from the dimension the USS Eldridge is in. She seeks an opportunity to take control of the Doctor’s TARDIS and overuses her superiority, assuming she has control over him.
The guest cast also includes Jack Galagher as Commander Ezz, Osloo’s stepson and Rachael Elizabeth as Lady Yka. These two become allies to the Doctor and Peri from the planet Capron when they’re discover more about the connection between the dimensions involving the Eldridge and their home.
There’s also Vincent Pirillo as Professor Tessler and Stewart Alexander (who was in ‘Renaissance of the Daleks’ and ‘Daleks In Manhattan’) as Bosun on board the USS Eldridge. There’s also Paul David-Gough as Mers and Matt Addis (who previously guest starred in the tale ‘Point of Entry’) as Bundth.
The CD extras are as follows. At the start of Disc 1, there’s a trailer for ‘The First Doctor Box Set’ with Carole Ann Ford and William Russell. At the end of Discs 1 and 2, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Linda Marlowe, etc.
‘The Macros’ (not sure why the story’s called that) is a fitting story as a season finale for the Lost Season 23 of ‘Doctor Who’ by Big Finish. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this adventure from beginning to end and Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant have been fantastic as the Doctor and Peri here.
‘The Macros’ rating – 8/10
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